There are only six women left on The Bachelor, and Peter Weber will soon make a choice about who (if anyone) he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Fans are keeping their eyes and ears open for any clues about who he might pick, and they just got a big one that hints that Victoria Fuller may win The Bachelor. It all has to do with a recent interview Peter gave about her where he defended her character amid controversy.
After Victoria had already been cast on the show and competed, information came out about how she'd participated in what many have deemed a racially insensitive modeling campaign. She modeled clothing for a brand that uses "white lives matter," "blue lives matter," and confederate flag messaging. Reportedly it's an organization for marlin fish conservation that raises overfishing awareness but because of the racial overtones of the slogans, many fans were upset about Victoria being in the photos.
Cosmopolitan agreed and cut her from their magazine cover even after Victoria won the cover shoot during a group date on the show. Editor-in-chief Jessica Pels wrote in explanation, "The nature of the organization is neither here nor there ... both [the] phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic."
According to E! News, Victoria reportedly defended herself in the comments section of an Instagram post about the issue, writing:
"The company 'We Love Marlins' is in support of catching white, blue & black marlins and releasing them back into the wild. In regards to a sensitive topic, I come from a very diverse background & am in support of all races! Virginia Beach is a VERY large fishing town where marlin tournaments are held every year! Glad to clear this up."
When another commenter prompted her to not just explain but to apologize, Victoria added, "I'm sorry if you or anyone else's feelings were hurt," acknowledging that she could "definitely see how this could be offensive." In another comment she wrote, "I apologize immensely. It was never my intention to lessen this matter."
After Cosmopolitan's statement about the challenge in Costa Rico, Peter was asked about it during a BUILD Series interview, according to another E! News article. Peter explained that he hadn't known about those photos while Victoria competed. "All I can speak on is the time I was able to spend with Victoria throughout this experience and I truly enjoyed my experience with her," he said. "I really feel like she's, you know, she's a good person and she's got a lot of endearing qualities and I just hope that people can form their opinion on her based off [of] what they see between the two of us and her time on the show. She's not perfect. I'm not perfect. No one's perfect."
Later, Peter spoke to People magazine and more firmly denounced what Victoria had done. "It's definitely been tough to see this unfold. To be honest I'm learning about all of this in real time just like everybody else is," he said. "At this point right now, I see a lot of headlines about my response, and my support has been taken out of context. I in no way support that kind of campaign."
But, in another interview with Entertainment Tonight, Peter was once again defending Victoria — although not the campaign itself. He suggested that she may not have been "fully aware of what she was doing when she was modeling for that campaign" and added, "The Victoria that I got to know on the show, I never would have ever expected anything like this to come out with her," he said.
All of these defenses of Victoria's character and suggestions that she may have been unaware of the true nature of the photo campaign sound familiar, because it's similar to how Bachelorette Becca Kufrin defended eventual winner Garrett Yrigoyen when he had "liked" some insensitive Instagram posts before competing on the show. Becca's season had only just began airing and she began imploring people to "watch the entire journey and get to know [the guys] for who they really are," as she told E! News at the time, adding, "I would hope that [the fans] would stay open and respect me but also stay open and respect these 28 guys that went along on the journey with me."
She also told Entertainment Tonight that she firmly believed in people being allowed to have different opinions. "I can't fault on anyone for what they believe and who's to say that anyone is truly what they believe in if they just double tap," she said. "I am a strong woman and I do believe in certain things, but again, that's what's so great about our country — everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
At the time, fans questioned if Garrett was going to win her season because Becca was so quick to ask for respect and understanding from viewers. He did go on to win (and he did eventually apologize for liking those posts). It's not the exact same situation with Victoria, of course, but perhaps Peter is also asking fans to "form their opinion on her based off what they see between the two of us and her time on the show" because he also ends up with her. Only time will tell.